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Planting Blueberries

 
Chech Moosh
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Hi Guys,

I'm completely new to this forum, and to country life for that matter!
We've got quite a few cedars up front and I was wondering whether I could plant blueberries near them?
 
Jack Edmondson
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Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
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What variety of cedar (eastern, western, salt) and what region of the country? Conventional wisdom holds that some cedars are allelophatic.

Blueberries like acidic soil. What is the ph measurement of the soil? Can you do a soil test? Most States have an Extension Service that will do the test for a small fee. There are many companies that offer the service as well.
 
Nicole Alderman
pollinator
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Location: Pacific Northwest
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duck forest garden hugelkultur
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I think that, if you were wanting to grow fruit near cedars, blueberries would likely work okay. Red Huckleberries (closely related to blueberries) grow straight out of Western Red Cedar stumps. The soil that I planted my blueberries came from under a cedar tree, and they are all seem to be doing well. Of course, like Jack said, knowing what type of cedar you have and what region of the country you're in would also help.

As for what PH your soil is, you could also look up where you live on http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/WebSoilSurvey.aspx, that should give you an indication as to whether soils are acidic or alkaline in your area. Though, I'd think all the needles from your cedar would also help make the soil acidic enough for blueberries, regardless of where you are.
 
eric koperek
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TO: Chech Moosh
FROM: Eric Koperek = erickoperek@gmail.com
SUBJECT: Planting blueberries
DATE: PM 6:53 Monday 23 May 2016
TEXT:

1. Do NOT plant blueberries near trees. Blueberries are shade intolerant and have very shallow root systems = trees are severely competitive with blueberry bushes = your fruit crops will be poor and your bushes will weaken and die. Blueberries are a pioneer plant -- in the wild they are most often found in recently burned forests where they may cover hundreds or even thousands of acres because there are no trees and no other competing plants to shade blueberry bushes.

2. Blueberries are intolerant of wet soils. If drainage is a problem, plant blueberry bushes ON TOP of the soil = do NOT dig a hole in the earth. Dump piles of compost or similar media on top of ground then plant blueberry bushes in mounds.

3. 90% of blueberry roots are in the top 4 inches of soil = blueberries are easily injured by drought, cultivation, and weed competition. Apply not less than 8 inches of mulch to blueberry bushes. Maintain 8 inch mulch depth YEAR ROUND.

4. Blueberries are extremely sensitive to high nitrogen chemical and high nitrogen organic fertilizers = it is easy to "burn" roots by applying too much nitrogen fertilizer. Apply fertilizer sparingly, in small amounts throughout the growing season, ideally diluted in irrigation water. Use 1/8 teaspoon (level measure) of soluble garden fertilizer in 1 gallon of water each time you irrigate.

5. For highest production ALWAYS plant at least 2 compatible varieties for cross-pollination. Consult pollination tables to ensure that varieties bloom at the same time.

6. For the first 5 years prune only dead, damaged, or diseased branches. Starting in the winter of the 5th year prune out the THICKEST stem from each blueberry bush = cut widest stem all the way down to soil surface. Do this every year. No other pruning is necessary or desirable. Cutting out the fattest stem forces blueberry bush to send up new stems so plant will live hundreds of years.

7. Birds will eat your blueberry crop in a few days unless bushes are protected by netting. Most growers use tubular plastic or tubular metal arches to support bird netting.

8. Blueberries thrive in high organic matter soils. Just about any mixture will work as long as it contains at least 50% organic matter content by volume. We grow our blueberries in composted cow manure mulched with leaves or hay.

9. Blueberries prefer acidic soils. Adjust soil acidity as necessary with agricultural powdered sulfur -- or -- grow blueberries in acidic media ON TOP of the ground. Most problems with blueberries are caused by soils that are not sufficiently acidic.

10. Avoid insect pests by planting wildflowers down each row and around blueberry plantations. If wildflower seed is too costly, plant weeds or let natural vegetation grow freely. Mow blueberry plantations ONLY before harvest or to keep down brush in juvenile plantings. The idea is to grow flowering weeds in close proximity to blueberry bushes. Weeds (and the beneficial insects they feed and shelter) protect blueberry bushes from harmful insects.

11. Blueberries are highly sensitive to drought because they have shallow root systems. For highest yields, IRRIGATE your blueberry bushes with 1 to 2 inches of water weekly throughout the growing season.

ERIC KOPEREK = erickoperek@gmail.com

end comment
 
Chech Moosh
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That's great!
Thanks so much everyone!!
I've got a little one under a year old, and it's been a challenge doing any regular old research on my new projects
Helps so much to snag a small summary here and get some direction.

Will be checking soil pH today!
 
Chech Moosh
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I'm not sure what kind of cedars we have and we are up on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, Canada.
Pretty rocky on our land so far.

If blueberries have shallow roots, would they do okay in rocky soil,
or should I build a raised bed for them?
 
steve bossie
Posts: 262
Location: Northern Maine (zone 3b-4a)
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you probably have white cedar like we do. i planted my blueberries in low 5ft. mound for each plant. i used a peat/ vermiculite promix mixed 1/2 with good compost. the ph should be close with the use of the peat. every year i circle a ring of 1 tlsp. of sulfur in the spring and mid summer when you fertilize. they're doing great! i mulch with hardwood chips i get from the local sawmill.
 
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